"But coffee drinkers are an eclectic lot. Last year's sparring between Paris and Washington over Iraq may have sparked an unofficial U. "I haven't seen the prices over there, but I'd expect they're quite a bit higher.25, Simonnet said. boycott against French delicacies..


"You're speaking to a fan," she enthused in accented English. Around Opera, the packed brasseries -- France's famed and smoky bars-cum-coffee houses -- testify that not everyone is sold on Starbucks' yuppie mystique. The numbers of French buying American-style sport utility vehicles is reportedly growing, and French appetite for U."


Starbucks is hardly the first American fixture to edge into France's culinary market.


Certainly not Elsa Simonnet, who sat in a brasserie across the street from the American store, sipping at a tiny cup of traditional French espresso.


"Since there is already a strong, vibrant and lively local coffee culture, we believe that there is excellent growth potential for Starbucks," said Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks Coffee Co.


"Salads, sandwiches and tabbouleh are fine for the summer," he said."


"And," Jacob added, in a small burst of civic pride, "we've got some coffee shops in France that offer a terrific choice."


"I haven't tried American coffee yet," she added."


Inside Starbucks' Opera store on a recent weekday afternoon, just about every seat in the lounge was full, and a Hydraulic Chuck line snaked almost out the door.


But trans-Atlantic differences did not stop French from scooping up Ben and Jerry's or Baskin Robbins concoctions, or going to Mac Do -- the French sobriquet for Mc Donald's. "But French coffee is very good.


Businessman Alain Jacob, who lunched at Starbucks for the first time with a colleague, gave the establishment a ho-hum rating. But Obisike is the first to admit she's been having major Starbucks withdrawal symptoms -- even in Europe's unofficial cafe capital.25 to nearly $3, respectively, and sandwiches range from $5 on up.


The French penchant for Americana does not stop at just food. "But is Starbucks better than French coffee? I'm French.


"Here, a cup costs me 1 euro," or about $1.S. "All they have is espresso in France, and I prefer brewed coffee.


The price for warmth, a comfortable chair and a snack is not cheap.


"I haven't been able to find a decent cup of coffee since I got here," grumbled the 23-year-old graduate student from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who cradled a steaming cup of the Starbucks daily special..so I have to say both are good.


Moreover, Starbucks can count on the thousands of American tourists flocking to Paris each year.


So overwhelming have been the crowds packing the Opera shop that Starbucks delayed by several days the late January opening of its second store -- in the Paris-area business district of La Defense. 9 (UPI) -- Valerie Obisike grasps a coffee cup in one hand and a baby carriage in the other as she slides out the heavy glass doors of the gleaming Starbucks Coffee house, plopped in the bustling midtown Paris district of Opera.-made films seems insatiable, much to the regret of the local movie industry.

PARIS, Feb.S. We've got the best and the worst in France -- and Starbucks falls about in the middle. Topping the list of supporters are aficionados like Theis Clarke, who claims to have faced true coffee deprivation since leaving his home in Boston, a week ago."


Obisike is hardly the only French sipper to rave about this upstart Yankee newcomer. "But it's a big annoying not to have much choice in hot food for the winter., which opened the stores with its Spanish partner, Grupo Vips.


"Our commitment to the market is long term," Schultz added in a statement, "and we are very optimistic about our opportunities for success in France. Cookies and muffins range from $2.


It's only been a few days since this French native sipped her last Starbucks coffee, back in her adopted home of New York City."